Strangest Book of the Week #21 – The Jell-O Girl Entertains
Ahhhh, Jello! Not the fine dining experience it once was…
The Jell-O Girl Entertains
The Jell-O Company. No date, circa 1909-1910s? Illustrated by Rose O’Neill.
Older folks will likely remember their mothers making extensive use of Jell-O in all kinds of dishes, way back in the day. Younger folks such as myself might be familiar with this generational culinary oddity through their grandparents. I shall certainly always associate dinner-Jello with my grandma who had been a dietician during the war. She loved to cook, and she loved to use Jello. And as a 9 year old boy, I wasn’t about to complain!
This little cooking/recipe booklet came in with a few dozen others, which I listed on eBay at auction. They sold first time around! In addition to the Jell-O Girl, there are booklets/pamphlets on 83 Tested Banana Recipes, 60 Ways to Serve Ham, 40 uses for Edgemont Crackers, 50 ways to use Tomato Flavor, and many, many more along the same lines.
What makes The Jell-O Girl more interesting is that it was illustrated by Rose O’Neill, best known for her Kewpies. According to wikipedia, she began drawing these advertisements for Jell-O in 1909. She also contributed to magazines such as Harper’s and Life. In 1896 she had illustrations published in True magazine, “making her the first published American woman cartoonist.” That same year she started the Jell-O ads, she also created her now (in?)famous Kewpie dolls. These eventually made her the highest paid female illustrator in the U.S.
It is an endearing little book. Take a look!